Oenologie - Les étapes de la dégustation - Les Grappes

The stages of the tasting

When we think of tasting, we see people spinning their glass, smelling the wine, tasting it, and then finally spitting it out! This is neither simple nor difficult but simply requires technique and above all practice. You should not think that tasting is not accessible to everyone because tasting is above all tasting. We are all capable of tasting a wine. So what are you waiting for?

To discover a wine, you have to use all your senses. Don't miss any step to discover the secrets of the wines you taste! Les Grappes helps you to become a real wine tasting pro!

Step 1: Visual examination

You have to use your eyes! How can you taste a wine without admiring it for a few moments? Above a white surface or under a light source you can visually appreciate a glass of wine. The color of the wine tells us many things:

First of all, you should observe the clarity of the wine, in other words the cleanliness of the wine. A clear, good quality wine has no particles in the liquid or on the surface.

You should also find out the viscosity of a wine by observing the wine's tears (the wine flowing down the wall of the glass). To do this, turn your glass slightly to move the liquid and if the tears are fine and fall quickly then the wine is acidic. Otherwise, if the tears are thick, then the wine is fat.

With your eyesight, you can also have fun guessing the age of a wine thanks to the color of its robe. For exampleRed winesFor example, a "young" wine has a color between purple and crimson that turns to tile and brown with the years.White wines Wines are transparent when they are young and become a little more orange with the years. An orange wine can also characterize a sweet white wine.

2nd step : Olfactory examination

For this step, which is divided into two stages, you will have to use your nose to discover all the aromas present in the wine!

You will have to start by discovering the first nose, i.e. smell the wine once before shaking it in the glass. If the wine does not smell good, the bottle is probably corked. If you don't smell anything, you need to aerate the wine to bring out its aromas. This is the second nose.

The second nose consists of swirling the wine in the glass in a circular fashion and then smelling the wine. A little advice: put your wine glass on the table before turning it slowly, you will avoid a catastrophe. This allows the aromas to come to the surface and reveal themselves to your nose when they are in contact with the air. These aromas come from the grape variety from which the wine was made. They therefore give valuable information about the wine. If you can't recognize the aromas, first try to find out if the wine smells good. After that, you will have to proceed by elimination, does the smell remind you of flowers, fruits, herbs, or spices?

After these two steps, you will finally be ready to taste your wine.

3rd step : The Gustative examination

To taste a wine you have to take a small amount in your mouth. This step is the most technical of the three. Once the wine is in your mouth, you will have to open your lips in order to inhale air and then exhale through your nose. This allows the aromas to circulate between your mouth and your nose.

In this step we distinguish three times:

  • The attack: when you take the wine in your mouth, it can be weak, frank, or intense. You can tell if the wine is acidic, sweet, salty or bitter for the first time
  • The mid-palate: this allows you to analyze the wine, its texture and flavors. You have to swirl the wine in your mouth as if you were chewing it.
  • The finish: this is when you can analyze the length in the mouth. That is to say the length of time during which you continue to smell the aromas.

Through these 3 steps, it is obvious that the use of each of your senses is essential, and in particular your olfactory and gustatory senses. The most important thing to remember about a tasting is simple: do I like this wine? This appreciation is personal and totally subjective because tastes and colors cannot be discussed. During a tasting, one should not be afraid of making a bad comment, the appreciation of a wine depends on our tastes but also on our experiences.

Lou Dubois for Les Grappes

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